Did you know that there is such a thing as a baby “travel system”? No? Well, there is and if you’re expecting a new arrival any time soon, you’re pretty sure to be in the market for one.
What we’re talking about here is a pushchair combo that has a carrycot for the early days, turns buggy style when they’re bigger and has the means for you to stick a matching group 0 car seat (0-9 months approx), right onto the frame. You can spend a fortune on one. Mine set me back best part of a grand, but do I regret it? Not at all. I opted for a Bugaboo Cameleon3, and though it was expensive, I do love it. It’s an everyday workhorse for me – it looks good and is really light to push.
Admittedly, the carrycot part never got as much use out and about as I’d have liked. But that’s no fault of this travel system. My birth injury meant going for long walks in the early months just wasn’t an option.
As baby travel systems go, I’m really happy with it. And as far as I can see, taking good care of it should see me get half my money back when it comes to second hand resale prices.
But the first question I asked myself when I got my groove back and booked our first family holiday to Menorca was this: should I take my Bugaboo abroad?
Here’s what I think you need to ask yourself when you’re trying to decide what mode of baby transport you should take on your own trip:
Can I get by with a baby carrier alone?
If you can, then scrap the pram altogether and embrace freedom! But it really depends on the type of trips you’re taking and of course, your wee one’s age and size. If you’re into your hiking then this is a win. In my case, Holiday Baby was a bit heavy for carrying full-time when we were away (disc problems don’t mix too well with bonny babes).
Also bear in mind that it can be really uncomfortable to carry a heavy bambino in a sling or carrier when the weather is hot, hot, hot!
However, baby carriers are life savers in airports – especially at the arrivals end when no matter what you do, you’ll usually find yourself waiting at the carousel for your buggy. Remember that this could be after you’ve spent over an hour queuing to get through passport control (hello, Manchester) and your arms will probably already be aching at the mere thought. If you love your carrier, you might decide you’d sooner just check your wheeled contraption in from the start. Our Ergobaby 360 really came into its own at the airport.
Will I need a car seat?
If you do, your travel system might be ideal. Since this means you’re probably hiring a car, it should be easy enough to handle, even if your pram set up is a two part fold (like mine). That said, right now there are puschairs on the market that convert directly into car seats – they could be a big travel win. Bear in mind though, that leaving young babies in car seats is not recommended for long periods of time, so perhaps these prams aren’t as ideal as they seem if you’ll be spending long days wheeling your wee one out and about sightseeing.
Will I be using public transport?
If you are (and we did in Spain), a two part fold will be a disaster – my Cameleon is not particularly public transport friendly if I have to fold it down. You don’t need all that faffing if you’re forced to put your puschair down when you take the bus, so a buggy you can collapse with one hand while you hold the baby with the other is what you need. Umbrella folds are perfect for this, but pushchairs designed for city living like the Bugaboo Bee (and Bugaboo aren’t sponsoring this post – I just like the brand) are compact and also have one piece folds that make them great for taking on buses, trams or trains.
Would I be happy checking in my pushchair, or do I want to take it to the gate?
Be aware that pushchairs do come in handy if you’re picking up a baby food/ milk order from air-side shops (Boots are great for this in the UK). The pram basket is a godsend meaning the length of time you actually have to carry all your stuff is minimal, because you won’t have to fold up the pushchair until you’re at the gate.
Am I worried about baggage handlers throwing my expensive piece of kiddie kit around?
You could invest in a proper case for it, but seeing as the one for the Bugaboo was about another hundred quid, it cost more than the umbrella buggy I ended up buying in the sale.
For me, pushing my cheap and cheerful buggy to the gate, baby carrier stashed in the basket, whilst leaving my fancy travel system at home is the best idea when we travel by plane. For car trips, it’s the Bugaboo every time.
So you see, picking a pram for travel isn’t necessarily easy – it really depends on your personal travel style and the type of trips you take. Once you’ve cracked what’s right for you, though, taking your baby travelling is amazing. And there’s such a good market for second hand baby gear that you can always sell up and buy something else as your little’un grows or if your style of travel evolves.
For example, I’ve already got my eye on the Pockit stroller – it’s brand new and folds up small enough to fit in the plane’s overhead bin (say whaaaaat?)! As long as it’s not too expensive, it might just be that my umbrella buggy’s days are numbered…